VWMA and EPA VIC host Industry Breakfast

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is hosting an Industry Breakfast.

The breakfast is open to all VWMA members and non-members and will include speakers from the RSM group and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Director of Economics, Governance and Waste Ian Campbell-Fraser. EPA Victoria Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan will also be presenting.

Topics that will be covered during the breakfast include risk appetite, a government update on the $13M National Sword package, recycling taskforce and e-waste, and how the EPA can help guide those in the industry.

It will provide an opportunity to meet others in the waste sector, engage with government, and discuss some of the important issues affecting the sector.

A hot plated breakfast is included, along with networking opportunities and presentations.

The VWMA & EPA INDUSTRY BREAKFAST takes place on Thursday 26 April, from 7:30am to 9am at the RACV Club Bayside Room 5 and 501 Bourke St, Melbourne.

To register, visit the website here.

EPA/The Department of Land, Water and Planning will be hosting an event at the same venue and location following the breakfast:

EPA Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials Guidelines Workshop:

The Department of Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is leading the development of the permanent legislative instrument to manage combustible wastes in Victoria. Concurrently, EPA Victoria are conducting a review of the Management and Storage of Combustible Recyclable and Waste Materials – Guideline, Publication 1667.1. EPA and DELWP are consulting with industry, government and community April-June 2018.

EPA Victoria would like to hear from those involved storing, transporting or processing combustible recyclable and waste materials such as at a resource recovery, materials recycling or reprocessing facility.

You can participate in the EPA Workshop on 26 April to discuss the management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials. You will need to register separately for EPA’s via eventbrite: https://combustiblerecycling.eventbrite.com.au


NSW Gov fund $10M asbestos cleanup after Tathra bushfire

The NSW Government has announced it will assist the clean-up of homes destroyed by bushfires in Tathra, in partnership with insurers.

$10 million will be spent to remove asbestos contaminated materials and to help residents clean up their properties.

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NSW Public Works will coordinate the clean-up and will engage expert contractors regularly utilised in the aftermath of natural disasters.

The announcement means the cost of cleaning up properties in will not be deducted from funds available under resident’s insurance policies for rebuilding.

The clean-up package includes the removal of asbestos contaminated material, removal of dangerous debris, and the removal of concrete slabs.

Properties that are uninsured are also being provided financial assistance by the NSW Government.

Bega Council’s tip will also be funded to expand to ensure hazardous waste from the fire is disposed of safely.

“I am relieved that nobody lost their life, however with such devastating property loss and damage we need to help people rebuild and the community recover,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Member for Bega Andrew Constance said residents should be given time to see if any personal item can be salvaged once it is safe.

“We know the quicker the clean-up is completed, the faster the community can heal as a result of this natural disaster, and people can get on with rebuilding,” Mr Constance said.

NSW EPA release new research on litterers

New research from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has found that even though the community knows that littering is wrong, people are still making excuses.

The research shows that one in four people wouldn’t call someone a litterer if they only did it once a month and that 75 per cent of respondents said they rarely or never litter, with 46 per cent believing most littering is done by a few repeat offenders.

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The NSW EPA has recently launched the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign to reduce littering and points out there are no valid excuses.

Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble explains there are reasons why litterers look to make excuses but that these excuses can be part of the bigger problem when it comes to changing behaviour.

“We all use excuses from time to time to rationalise our behaviour and allow ourselves to litter. But this behaviour has direct consequences on our environment,” Ms Lamble said.

“Making excuses lowers our sense of responsibility and most importantly, decreases the likelihood of positive change.

“If we continue to make excuses for our behaviour e.g. ‘It’s not a big deal; I only do it sometimes; there isn’t a bin etc’ the bad habit will continue. To break a habit, we need to be fully conscious of what we are doing and the consequences of that behaviour,” Ms Lamble said.

EPA Litter Prevention Manager Sharon Owens said littering was a damaging but preventable environmental problem.

“Around 25,000 tonnes of litter are tossed in NSW each year, costing our community and the environment. Through the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign, we’re asking NSW residents to look at the excuses they use for littering,” Ms Owens said.

“The Don’t be a Tosser campaign will highlight that even if you litter just once or as a ‘one-off’, your rubbish ends up becoming part of a bigger litter problem,” she said.

“Reducing littering is important for the health of the environment and of our communities. Everyone is responsible for their own litter and the best bit is that it is easy to do something about it if we all work together.”

More information about the Don’t be a Tosser campaign can be found here.

Review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 consultation paper

The Federal Government has released a consultation paper of its review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011, including the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS).

The Review of the Product Stewardship Act, including the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme – Consultation Paper was released in March 2018.

Last year, the government announced the first review of the Act since it commenced in 2011, and the Department of Environment and Energy will actively seek input from industry, governments and the general public to ensure the Act continues to be effective and is delivering the best outcomes for business and the environment.

The Act helps reduce the environmental and health impacts of products by encouraging industries to improve the design and manufacture of their products, and to collect valuable or harmful materials for reuse or responsible disposal.

The NTCRS has recycled approximately 230,000 tonnes of electronic waste since it began. Updates are made to the Minister’s Product List each year, which is established by the Act.

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The department is also looking at making minor amendments to the NTCRS to take effect from July 1. These involve adjustments to conversion and scaling factors, numerical values used to estimate the weight of TVs and computers imported each year as well as possibly updating the product codes used to identify imports of the two.

The department will also develop a Product Impact Management Strategy to assist a shared approach to product stewardship by the Australian, state, territory and local governments and accrediting voluntary product stewardship arrangements.

The department is collating views from public consultations and other areas to develop its recommendations and findings. The findings will be provided to Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg by mid-2018. If it finds legislative changes are warranted, this will be undertaken in 2018-19 subject to the Minister’s agreement.

Public consultation forums in all state and territory capitals will be held from May 2017, with all industry stakeholders, including state, territory, local government, business and industry, non-governmental and community groups and general public invited to attend.

“Consultation with state, territory and local governments has indicated reservations about whether voluntary arrangements will deliver consistently good outcomes, and interest in using the accreditation process to strengthen voluntary product stewardship,” the paper says.

Four matters of improvement laid out on the report are as follows:

  • The extent to which the objects of the Act are being met and whether they remain appropriate.
  • The effectiveness of the accreditation of voluntary product stewardship schemes and the Minister’s annual product list in supporting product stewardship outcomes.
  • The operation and scope of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
  • The interaction of the Act with other Commonwealth, state and territory and local government legislation, policy and programs.
  • International and domestic experience in the use of product stewardship to deliver enhanced environmental, social and economic outcomes through product design, dissemination of new technologies and research and development.

“With regard to the use of the Minister’s annual product list to encourage action on product stewardship, the development of the Product Impact Management Strategy during the first half of 2018 will be significant.”

The department has also evaluated the NTCRS in terms of: appropriateness, efficiency, effectiveness and impact, sustainability, and improvement. Its recommendations included to improve its online platform PS Online, improve and formalise stakeholder engagement, prepare a communications strategy, with agreed roles, activities and outcomes to enable consistent messaging, increase oversight of the downstream flow of recycled products and more.

The Department will hold public consultation forums in all state and territory capitals from May 2018. All interested stakeholders, including state, territory and local government representatives, business and industry, non-governmental and community groups and the general public are encouraged to attend these forums.

Equilibrium Director of Communications John Gertsakis said the consultation paper was a positive opportunity to review and confirm adjustments required to the NTCRS, while further maximising the collection and recycling performance of electronics stewardship across Australia.

“The Product Stewardship Act is a unique policy instrument and has even greater potential to enable a circular economy through stronger attention to product durability, reuse, repair and remanufacturing,” Mr Gertsakis said.

“The review of the Product Stewardship Act provides an unmatched opportunity to further expand the scope of the products and materials it covers while also moving back up the supply chain to better address waste avoidance through good design, cleaner production and effective consumer awareness initiatives.”

Mr Gertsakis noted product stewardship is about more than end-of-life collection and recycling, and the review process can help focus future activity on more sustainable interventions across the product life cycle, including attention to product design, cleaner production and hyper-efficient logistics.

“It’s especially positive to see that the Australian Government has opened up the scheme for accreditation of voluntary product stewardship arrangements under the Act.

“This encourages other industries and programs to consider being formally recognised and is relevant to tyres, paint, toner cartridges, safety equipment, mattresses, handheld batteries, renewables technology, carpet and commercial furniture, textiles and apparel and more.”

You can read the document in full here, which includes information on how to provide submissions.


Green waste bin rollout for Darwin following Cyclone Marcus

The Northern Territory Government has announced they will be rolling out 90 green waste skip bins across Darwin suburbs that were hardest hit by Cyclone Marcus.

The move is a joint effort between the City of Darwin and the NT Government to remove accumulated green waste and reduce traffic into Shoal Bay.

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NT Treasurer Nicole Manison said the NT Government will fund the bin to assist

“Skip bins are being placed on verges and roadsides to assist residents with the disposal of green waste this weekend,” she said.

“The green waste skip bins will be removed Monday morning, so we urge residents to dispose of their green waste this weekend.”

NT Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said Territorians should only fill the bins to the top line of the skip.

“Contractors will be collecting the bins once full and returning them if necessary on Saturday. If you see a full bin call the number on the side of the bin,” he said.